It’s Your Choice: How to Get Motivated to Eat Healthier Foods
Thursday, July 21, 2016
God cares about what we put into our bodies. Why? Because it’s part of his great plan for us to lead healthy, productive lives as he seeks to make us whole. And recognizing this makes it just a little easier for us to begin healthy eating habits.
Change is always difficult, especially when it comes to what we eat. We know that we should consume more fruit, but we’d much rather have a chocolate sundae for dessert. Also, we realize that eating less saturated fat and cholesterol is healthier, but when we have to work late, it’s much easier to hit the drive-through for supper. Face it, convenience and taste usually win out.
Yes, altering our diet can be tough. But remember, even small adjustments can result in big health benefits. Start with something as simple as switching your afternoon snack to one-fourth cup of nuts or seeds. You’ll be surprised how easy it will be to then go on to other healthy eating behaviors.
So how can you get motivated to eat healthier foods, and more important, how do you stay that way?
Sherri Flynt, a registered dietitian and co-author of the book SuperSized Kids: How to Rescue Your Child from the Obesity Threat offers these helpful tips for anyone wanting to make healthier food choices while maintaining a satisfying, yet balanced, diet.
- Watch portion sizes. Start the meal with small portions. Going back for seconds is fine, but controlling portion size can help to control calories.
- Use small plates. Small plates help you gain control over your portion size and trick your mind into thinking you’ve eaten more than you actually have.
- Slow down! Most adults and children not only eat too much, they eat too fast, even when they have time to relax and enjoy their food.
- Start light. Begin your meal with a vegetable soup, a fruit dish, or a salad.
- Eat variety. Variety is important because there is no single perfect food. Each food has its own unique combination of nutrients. If you vary what you eat every day, you are guaranteed a variety of nutrients.
- Be colorful. Pick foods with many different colors. Plant foods with lots of color—such as fruits and vegetables—are usually filled with health-giving phytochemicals. So pick natural foods that are bright red, yellow, green, orange, and blue.
- Have breakfast. Don’t skip it. There’s a reason it’s called the most important meal of the day.
- Snack healthy. Keep a few items on hand for a fast, healthy snack during the day such as fresh fruit, ready-to-eat veggies, hummus, natural peanut butter, nuts, whole-grain crackers, raisins, or low-fat yogurt.
- Go spare. Serve desserts sparingly. Keep them for special occasions and see how much better you feel.
- Find better rewards. Resist the temptation to use food as a way to reward yourself. Food should remain a source of nourishment and enjoyment.
What about animal products? Should we avoid using them entirely? When it comes to meat, poultry, and fish, Sherri recommends using them less often. “Typically we overuse meat, eating more of it than we need. We don’t require that much protein, and meat usually contains the cholesterol and saturated fat associated with a higher incidence of heart disease and cancers. Minimize the amount of animal products you consume. When you minize these foods, you want to maximize your plant foods.”
For big results, Sherri also recommends starting small. “All of us are creatures of habit, and good habits take time to kick in (just as bad habits take time to overcome). Don’t try to make wholesale changes in the way you eat; that’s a strategy almost certain to fail. Instead, pick one or two small changes, start with them, and after you’ve enjoyed some success, move on and try a few more. Think ‘little steps,’ not ‘big steps,’ and you’ll be far more likely to reach the destination of your dreams.”
Are you ready to make a change? Click Here to learn how our Lifestyle Program can lead you step-by-step to a healthier new life.